Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Polymer Clay Mosaics

Gold Mosaic Pendant

This does look rather good and is very easy to make. Choose your colours, maximum four, otherwise it gets too busy. If you are only making one to two pendants then half a block of each colour should be sufficient. Condition your clay and roll into little fat individual sausages. You then need to choose a 'grout' colour. This is usually, white, silver, grey or for the daring, black. A pasta maker is very handy at this stage, it ensures all your grout is of a uniform thickness. Pass the grout colour through the pasta machine, firstly on a wide setting and then on a narrow and cover your sausages (not then ends). When they are all covered place together and roll to form one large sausage. Now, this is the fun bit. Stand your roll on end and cut through two large areas of colour, from top to bottom. Cover one of the exposed areas with your grout colour, trim and smooth the edges. Now you need to turn this section around and place against your other cut side of clay (the colours should not match as they did before you cut them). You need to do this at least 4-5 times, always varying the way you put the colours back together. Once you have achieved the variation you want, roll gently, be careful not to squash the colours. The next step is to lengthen the roll. Hold it in the middle using your thumb and index finger, gently squash and turn, working your way to the top. Turn it around and repeat the procedure, working your way to the other end. Both ends should now be slightly bulbous. Using your thumbs and index fingers gently squash the end so they are in line with the rest of your roll. Do not squash the roll smaller than you need to, have your project in mind during this procedure, if it is too narrow you will have difficulty covering your pendant. Cut the length into four equal parts and put together again, roll these gently to adhere all the clay, gently, very gently lengthening it as you go. Now cut a slice and look at the effect you have achieved. Good isn't it. You can use this to cover any of your projects.

This piece has been made in exactly the same way. The first four sausages were made using translucent white clay each tinted with a small piece of coloured clay. Scrap clay was used for the bulk of the heart, this was then covered with gold and copper leaf. Very thin slices were taken from the roll and smoothed over the top. Once fired, this was very gently sanded with 1000 grade sand paper and washed in soapy water, this allows more of the leafing to show through, and lastly given a coat of poly clay varnish. Very effective.

The fastenings for the pendants are an alternative to using findings. One part is a square bead with two holes going straight through, the other is a round bead with one hole. The idea is your cord pulls to form a noose to capture the bead, so forming the fastening. Superglue is wonderful for fastening cord to clay. I think I prefer this on a chunky pendant to the usual jewellery findings.

The bracelet is made from large and small oval slices from the same mosaic. Holes were pushed through and then threaded with elastic.

The Double Heart Pendant is a squashed bit of the mosaic simply cut with a heart cutter and a smaller heart laid on top before firing. The colours have a lovely way of blending together and no two will ever turn out exactly the same, you will always find a small variation.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Polymer Clay Jewellery

You can get some amazing effects with polymer clay, you can marble, add glitter, stamp into it, use foil, the list is endless and is only limited by your own imagination.

Bracelets, pendants, earrings are all easily made. These pieces are made by burnishing the foil onto white clay using a long thin blade, the pieces are then cut to the required shape and mounted on black clay before firing in your oven. The earrings are simply cut offs from the brooch & pendant and rolled, an eye pin has then been inserted to take the earring findings. Pretty cool.

This is my Fire Pendant, I made a flower cane for the bracelet below and this was simply a cut off, squashed and rolled and a hole put in for the cord (reminds me of flames). Simple and effective. Once the piece was fired it was given a coat of polymer clay varnish to seal it.

The bracelet was slightly trickier. A blend of blue and green clay was passed through a pasta maker (to ensure the same thickness), flower & leaf canes were made and thinly sliced to form the petals of the flower. It was then assembled on the blend. To make the tiles thicker it was placed on a rolled out piece of black clay and cut to make the tiles. Smaller versions of the tiles were cut to form the middle sections. The hardest part of the bracelet was putting the holes in the tiles to thread the cord.
This is a very simple and effective pendant. A small piece was rolled and cut to a rough shape. Swirly clips were then placed on the clay and pressed into place, cut sections make up the rest of the pattern, (once the clay is fired these are very secure). I then cut around the swirls to make the shape and pricked holes for decoration. Instead of a hole or a finding to fasten the cord to the piece, the top was stretched slightly and rolled over to meet the main body of the pendant, a simple, easy way to thread the cord.

Watch this space!

Another Recruit

Another recruit to the Jobsworthy Collection, this time a Jockey, complete with his saddle and crop waiting for weight-in. I wonder if he wins!